Obama Tries To Reassure Reformers In Wake Of Rahm Flap

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July 7, 2009 7:40 a.m.

In the wake of this morning’s flap over the public option, President Obama has released a statement reaffirming his support for the policy. “I am pleased by the progress we’re making on health care reform and still believe, as I’ve said before, that one of the best ways to bring down costs, provide more choices, and assure quality is a public option that will force the insurance companies to compete and keep them honest,” Obama said. “I look forward to a final product that achieves these very important goals. ”

An earlier Wall Street Journal reported that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had suggested that the administration might be willing to accept a number of alternatives. Between the two, the campaign Health Care for American Now is lining up behind Obama.

“Today, President Obama unequivocally reaffirmed his commitment to a public health insurance option as part of comprehensive health care reform this year,” noted HCAN’s National Campaign Manager Richard Kirsch.

We believe too that a national robust public health insurance plan that is ready on day one is central to lowering costs, injecting competition into the health insurance market, ensuring access to care in every corner of the country, and keeping the insurance companies honest. We look forward to working with the President and Congressional leadership to accomplish these goals.

Reformers acknowledge that Obama’s statement doesn’t necessarily contradict Emanuel’s, but they note that, whatever the explanation for Emanuel’s statement, the President has taken the same position on the public option all along.

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